Okkervil River, Pleasant Grove

Amped-up Austin folkies Okkervil River killed each of these beasts with their bare hands. Except for the one Jonathan Meiburg is glaring at...that's another story.
Mary Sledd

Austin's Okkervil River had quite the year in 2005, touring extensively in both the U.S. and Europe and releasing their third straight masterwork, the critically lauded Black Sheep Boy--a raw, sprawling concept record based on a character in a Tim Hardin song (and so good it deserved its own equally compelling Appendix album). In concert, the band unleashes a similarly potent mix of torrential lyricism and electrifying dynamics, building hushed acoustic intros into foreboding peaks of sound capped by Jonathan Meiburg's buzzing Fender Rhodes and the unhinged vocals of songwriter Will Sheff. With Dallas' own Pleasant Grove opening, you'd be a fool to miss this great Sons showcase.

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